Quilly and I were out driving early on a Sunday afternoon not long ago. We had just gotten onto the (ahem) Interstate H-1 in Honolulu, bound for Hawai‘i Kai, when an object appeared on our windshield. A brown thing; it looked like a stick that had been out of sight in the windshield wiper well until the wind from our acceleration dislodged it.
At least, that’s what we thought. Until the stick flashed its bright red dewlap at us.
It was a lizard. Specifically, a brown anole lizard. No, it’s not native to Hawai‘i. Is anything native to Hawai‘i? Besides the centipedes, I mean. But you know about them already. The brown anoles hitchhiked to O‘ahu from the Caribbean. Maybe they thumbed a cargo boat, or a plane. Or they came first class, as somebody’s pet, and got loose when the kids grew tired of them.
This one had caught the cannonball – ours – to the east end of the island, and would get there in no time. If it lived. Which was by no means a sure thing. The environment at the base of the windshield of an automobile that is traveling a freeway at 60 mph = 100 kph tends to be a little windy. One misstep, and our reptilian stowaway would begin its long minute’s journey into squish.
But our passenger clearly was a hoppy frood who knew where his towel was. He refused to panic, and after a few minutes in the slipstream, glaring at us, he disappeared into the windshield wiper well. Not the wisest of moves, thought Quilly, remembering the showers that had been dampening O‘ahu over the preceding week. But no rain fell; the anole’s gamble paid off. We arrived home, and promptly forgot about him.
Until the following morning, when we went out to the car prepared to drive to our respective workplaces, and there was the hitchhiker, unconcernedly sunning himself on the hood. Male brown anoles defend territories, and this one, not having the option of a pink Cadillac, was prepared to make do with a tan Malibu.
And I was almost prepared to oblige. Brown anoles, after all, eat bugs, and older cars on O‘ahu, including this one, have enough buggy passengers to feed a whole colony of anoles. I could have called it our very own onboard biocontrol system.
But then I thought “long minute’s journey into squish” and made an executive decision. I blocked the lizard’s path to the windshield wiper well with one arm, scooped him into my other hand (rather to my surprise), and escorted him into the mock orange hedge at the side of the road. Into which he disappeared, never to be seen again.
Or did we? That tan duellist that Quilly captured on camera looks awfully familiar …
– O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2009 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.